Is Pool a Sport? The Answer May Surprise You
Many people think pool and billiards is simply a hobby to participate in to pass the time. But to others, pool requires focus and precision, and should be taken more seriously.
Some might dismiss pool as a sport simply because they associate “sport” with the more popular sports such as football, basketball or baseball.
We have news for them – pool is a sport, and we’re going to explain why!
But first, what exactly is a sport?
Here is the official definition by Cambridge Dictionary:
A sport is “A game, competition, or activity needing physical effort and skill that is played or done according to rules, for enjoyment and/or as a job.”
Pool is a Sport – Here’s Why
Pool is a sport, because it meets the official definition of “sport.” For starters, it is a game that involves both mental and physical activity. Pool requires more mental exertion than most people tend to assume. It also has different sets of rules and is played competitively.
Pool players also need to understand interactions between balls during play – such as deflection and spin. Also, pool requires quick calculations under immense pressure when setting up a shot.
Mental toughness is needed to avoid costly mistakes during games, so the brain definitely gets a workout as well.
Physical exertion can arise from straining your lower back and upper leg muscles as you line up for shots. Pool also requires good hand-eye coordination. You might not run up and down a field, but playing pool still works most of your muscles in some capacity.
Billiard sports fall under a category of sport called “cue sports.” Cue sports have English origins and have been evolving since the 19th century when they arrived in the US. New variants have emerged over the years as the popularity of cue sports has grown.
What are cue sports?
Cue sports or billiard sports are games of skill played with cue sticks. The cue stick is used to strike billiard balls on a billiards table lined with felt and with (usually) 6 pockets along its perimeter.
The main goal of a cue sport is scoring more points than your competitors. This is typically done by potting balls, and through tactical safety play, depending on the specific cue sport variation you are playing.
Several game variations fall under cue sports. The 3 main games are pool, snooker, and carom billiards.
Pool is the most common cue sport in most parts of the world. A game of pool is typically played on the 6-pocket pool table that can either be 7, 8 or 9 feet long. But, the term pool covers several variations of pocket billiards.
Here is a list of the most popular pool games:
- 8-ball – This is the world’s most widely played billiards game
- 9-ball – The dominant billiards game among professionals
- 10-ball – Similar to 9-ball, but with 10 balls, and the 10-ball is the “money ball”
- Straight pool – Used to be a dominant pro pool game and is played with 15 numbered balls
- One pocket – A variation where only one pocket is used to score for each player
Snooker is played on a snooker table with 6 pockets and is typically 6 by 12 feet. It is classified differently from pool given the terminologies used, its rules, and historical development.
3. Carom billiards
Carom billiards or french billiards refers to cue games played on a table with no pockets. A carom billiards table is usually 5 by 10 feet.
The game is played with three balls – usually 2 white balls and 1 red ball. The game’s object is to strike your opponent’s cue ball, and the red ball in succession.
Are pool players athletes?
Yes, pool players are athletes. Although playing pool involves less physical activity, it is still a sport, so anyone who plays it professionally is considered an athlete.
Every sport requires mental toughness and a lot of focus. Also, physical hand-eye coordination is vital for success when playing most sports. Playing pool requires all this and more.
For instance, pool is one of the most mentally draining sports, as you must keep strategizing and thinking many shots ahead. Also, you must have good focus and excellent hand-eye coordination to line up and execute a shot.
Pool players come in all shapes and sizes, but a pool player must be physically and mentally ready to play a game like any other sport. All this is only possible with at least a little athleticism, so there is no doubt that pool players are athletes.
If you are a pool player, whether a professional or a casual one, you need to stand up for the game you love. No matter what the debate might be, the fact is pool is a sport.
Many think there is a great chance that the International Olympic Committee will soon recognize billiards sports and make them part of the Olympic Games.
Also, if you play any form of cue sport professionally you are an athlete just like a football or baseball player. Just keep enjoying the sport of pool and don’t worry about what others think.
As always, Happy Shooting!